Minerva Alganza-Roldán is a Senior Associate Member at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, and a research fellow in the Polymnia Research Network of Ancient and Modern Mythographers. She is a professor at the Universidad de Granada, Filología Griega
Q: What is your particular field of interest?
A: I teach mythograph, and mythology and arts at Universidad de Granada, Filología Griega. For my classes and my research I work with artistic documentation, iconography and so on. I also am currently part of a team of international researchers called Polymnia Research Network of Ancient and Modern Mythographers.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: Last month I was working on Hellenistic mythography at the Blegen for the Oxford Handbook of Mythography. I finished this project and I am starting an independent project funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy on pragmatic mythography. So now I am looking at Greek mythography in the Gennandius and the Greek National Library. I am studying two manuscripts: one from the 15th century the other from the 18th century. But the ancient writer is a writer perhaps from the 4th century BC.
Q: How would you explain Mythography to someone who had never heard of it?
A: Pragmatic mythography is searching in the ancient myths for real historical events. It comes from ancient historiography. The first historian was the first mythographer too. For example the Palaephatus' pragmatic-rationalist interpretation of Medea is that she had magical powers, specifically to convert old people in young (as told in the myth of Pelias); the truth, explains Palaephatus: she was the inventor of dyes for gray hair, with which she "rejuvenated" people.
Q: What brings you to the American School?
A: The school has excellent library. I was searching for a good library for my work and now I am working in a library that has everything I need about ancient history and mythography. In October I will work on the transmission of mythography, then I will need the books from medieval and byzantine periods from the Gennadius. So this is perfect for me. And this not my first experience with American people. I was a visiting professor at Delaware University and I have worked with many American universities and I admire American researchers.
Q: What is your favorite place in Athens?
A: Oh there are so many. I love the Acropolis naturally but I love Kerameikos too. I love the Roman Agora. I love the Acropolis museum, it’s excellent.
Q: If you could choose to be a Greek god, what Greek god would you choose to be?
A: My name is Minerva. So that’s going to be my answer.
Q: What do you get from your experience here at ASCSA?
A: For me it is a good opportunity to stay at Athens, and to work in an excellent library. Thank you very much for the facilities!